Malawi government on Friday admitted that the main challenge to the success of the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), which seeks to resuscitate Malawiâ€™s ailing economy, lies in its implementation
Malawi’s Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development Khwauli Msiska said this at a public engagement on the blueprint in Blantyre convened by the Ministry of Information to solicit views to assist in the implementation of the plan.
â€œWe can have the best plan possible, but the challenge is to ensure that the plan is implemented. It is for this reason that thereÂ is an implementation arrangement, which I must quickly add, is in draft form,â€ said Msiska.
He said through platforms such as the Friday event, government is hopeful that players in the economy will come up with â€˜valuableâ€™ input to enrich the implementation plan.
Msiskaâ€™s sentiments were echoed by FDH Financial Holdings Limited chief executive officer Thom Mpinganjira who also observed that implementation has always been a challenge for Malawi.
It has long been argued by economic commentators that Malawian authorities come up with plans that are elaborate and comprehensive, but implementation to ensure that the intendedÂ outcomes are realised has always been unsatisfactory, with some plans gathering dust at Capital Hill.
The public dialogue meeting came a week after managing director of Business Consult Africa, Henry Kachaje, argued that the plan may not serve its purpose because it lacks clarity and focus.
But Msiska said government came up with the ERP after noting that the second generation five-year Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) was in jeopardy in the first years of its implementation characterised by slow-down in gross domestic product (GDP), foreign currency and fuel shortages as well as intermittent power supply.
â€œAnd because of that, it was directed at Cabinet level that an economic recovery plan be put in place which primarily should address these challenges and ensure that MGDS II and the assumptions that are in it are favourable enough for smooth implementation,â€ he said.
HeÂ noted thatÂ implementation ofÂ ERP started when the 2012/13 budget was launched, responding to assertions that the plan became effective when it was launched at the end of September by Vice-President Khumbo Kachali.
The dialogue meeting attracted a cross-section of players in the economy, from the private sector and the media to politicians such as New Republican Party (NRP) president Gwanda Chakuamba and Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) president Kamlepo Kalua who were recently roped in by the Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) during the Mzimba by-elections.
There was no representation from main opposition parties such as Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF). A notable representative from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was MP for Nsanje Central Francis Kasaila.
But Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu said the coming together of Malawians from all walks of life â€œshows our togetherness when we are in problems.â€
Kunkuyu acknowledged the financing gap ERP faces to ensure its smooth implementation.
The plan focuses on five pillars; energy, tourism, mining, agriculture as well as transport infrastructure and ICT to breathe some life into Malawiâ€™s ailing economy bogged down by rising inflation, high interest rates and a weakening kwacha which was devalued and subsequently floated.